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  1. Default Bay Area - Grand Canyon 8 day Road Trip (need advice)

    Hello, I have seen other posts with similar plans but I need some advice on our specific plan.

    I am traveling in a group of 4 (all mid 20s, very low budget) from the Bay Area to the Grand Canyon. One of our group is a friend visiting from Brazil and he's in an extremely tight schedule so we are stuck with our dates of leaving June 28th, returning July 5th (8 days).

    One problem is the camp sites we found on for the Grand Canyon are fully booked and I was wondering if there are other places we can camp or any suggestions for areas we can stay inexpensively and still allow us to enjoy the Grand Canyon National Park. We could do a hostel near the park, or we could share a cheap hotel nearby. I just want to make sure wherever we stay we are still able to spend as much time in nature as possible.

    Please offer any suggestions of how we can improve this road trip or optimize our time. I don't want to be too rushed so we can't enjoy the places we see.

    Here is the tentative plan:

    We are leaving the Bay Area Sunday June 28th, and driving to Las Vegas (8 hours) spending 1 night in Vegas just to break up the driving

    29th driving to Grand Canyon (4 hours) - Staying until the 3rd (about 4 days there)

    3rd drive back to Yosemite (9.5 hours, long day)

    4th of july in Yosemite (staying with a friend)

    5th drive back home to bay area (3 hours)

    I appreciate any advice anyone can offer.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Some tweaking needed.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    It would appear that you are getting your travel times straight from an electronic mapping program which do not allow for 'real world' issues, like needing to rest, get fuel, traffic construction and congestion, so you need to add at least 20% to those times. Next thing is that Las Vegas is a big detour when you are aiming to get to the GC as quickly as possible, it actually adds about 60 miles to your journey. Perhaps instead you should look to stay in Needles CA, although that would be a long day. I really think you would be better to drop a day at the GC and stop on route to Yosemite. You could stop around Bishop and then take your time driving over Tioga Pass [CA120] which is part of the Yosemite experience and then enjoy the 4th of July without being exhausted ! If you wanted to stop in Vegas then I think you will find 2 days at GC would give you enough time to enjoy it, you could then take a more leisurely drive across Death valley.

    For campgrounds with availability in or near to the NP's is going to be a case of searching for them. Keep checking incase they have a cancellation that frees one up and there might be some 'first come first served' sites, but it's a gamble.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    First a warning about the drive times you've listed. It looks like you've gotten them from online mapping programs, as they are very optimistic. Most of the drives you've listed will take at least an hour longer than you've planned.

    The only day that's a major problem is Grand Canyon to Yosemite, which isn't close to possible in 9.5 hours. That's a 700 mile drive, and includes a significant portion of 2 lane highways (assuming you're going to go over Tioga Pass). Even Google lists that as a 11.5 hour drive, and real world it would be closer to 15 hours, and not something you should try to do in one day.

    On your drive to Grand Canyon, Las Vegas is quite a ways out of the way. You'd be better off staying someplace along I-40, like Needles, Laughlin, or maybe Kingman.

    You've actually got a lot of time at the Grand Canyon. If you left on the 2nd, you'd still have 2.5 days there. That would give you some time to check out Death Valley and get to Yosemite in a more reasonable timeframe.

    For more camping options near the Grand Canyon, have you checked out Kaibab National Forest? The Ten-X campground is very close to the National Park, but they also have a few more campgrounds closer to Williams that might still work for you.
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 06-12-2015 at 12:08 PM. Reason: Corrected typo.

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